Photo of Karen Deerwester

Karen Deerwester

Professional Parenting Expert

No TV — Pre-School

Featured On:

  • MSNBC
  • NBC
When you turn off the TV, your child benefits in two essential ways: time together and time alone. The following “Alternatives to TV” gives you winning ways to spend time together as a family and to combat children’s boredom. Children who “unplug” from TV learn resourcefulness and independence. Here’s an opportunity to awaken your child’s curiosity and to redefine your priorities as a family. Try them once a week or an hour a day. You’ll be surprised by how much you and your children will enjoy a newfound freedom.

Best Alternative to TV Pre-School by Karen Deerwester

The Best You Can Get

  • PlayFoam Creativity Kit

    Karen says: Busy hands – busy minds! This kit includes sparkle and glow-in-the-dark PlayFoam as well as feathers, jewels, wiggly eyes, and other creativity-inspiring accessories. Parents who play along will notice PlayFoam magically absorbs grown-up stress too! Added bonus: PlayFoam doesn’t stick to skin or surfaces and it never dries out.

    • 9 assorted sculpting bricks
    • More than 100 accessories
    • Patterning and design
    • Individual or group activity
    • Easy clean-up
  • Fortamajig Connectables

    Karen says: Forget the old sheets draped over your living room furniture. Fortamajig Connectables offers your child a new era of engineering beauty and ingenuity. From planning to construction, your child is visionary and architect. That’s not all - your child will return to play in her masterpiece hour after hour, alone or with family and friends.

    • Colorful fabric squares for making forts, mazes, tents, and tunnels
    • Child-friendly Velcro connectors
    • Six 33” squares and two 58” rectangles per pack
    • Velcro tabs hook to chair legs, doorknobs, fences, even curtain rods
    • Portable, washable, and durable
  • Haba Basic Building Blocks Extra Large Set

    Karen says: Wooden blocks are as essential to childhood as bedtime stories. Blocks expand childhood interests while encouraging creativity and patience – from castles to garages, towers to roadways, recreating the past or building the future. Play together as a family and learn cooperation and flexibility. Remember to take photos so you can enjoy your efforts long after the blocks are put away.

    • 102 solid, natural, untreated beech wood pieces
    • Assorted shapes for creative building
    • Extra large set allows for more involved projects
    • Reusable fabric bag for storage
  • Acting Out Musical Skirts

    Karen says: Singers and dancers aren’t born on Broadway; they come from living rooms where children could perform for devoted fans. Choose your favorite: Can Can, Waltz, Sugar Plum Fairy, Swan Lake, You Are My Sunshine, Nutcracker, Macarena, Hokey Pokey. Accessorize with “Acting Out” light-up boas, flower wings, or tiaras. Sing, dance, clap, and smile! Your child will love the attention and the audience will love encore performances.

    • This music is in the skirt
    • Dress up, perform, or just silliness
    • Removable music box
    • One size fits most 3-6 year olds
    • Batteries included
  • Woodlands Giant Floor Puzzle

    Karen says: Families who work on puzzles together learn practical problem solving skills. They also have time to talk about things that happen during the day. Puzzles strike the perfect balance as an activity that’s both calming and challenging. Enjoy the peace and quiet. When your child masters this puzzle, he’ll be ready to advance to 48-piece floor puzzles or to tabletop puzzles.

    • Large pieces for little hands
    • Classic picture to interest young minds
    • Floor work keeps body and mind active
    • Teamwork or solitary activity

You will be happy with any of these

  • Cranium Cariboo Game

    Karen says: This game is fun and easy, especially for children just learning to take turns and follow directions. It has plenty of hands-on action to keep a young child engaged while learning basic skills. No reading is required and there are no small parts. This is the perfect game to start your family game-night tradition.

    • A classic game for today’s preschoolers
    • Skills include numbers, shapes, and colors
    • Hands-on action using key, doors, and hidden balls
    • Quick from start to finish
  • Crayola 3-D Sidewalk Chalk Jungle Safari Kit

    Karen says: Here it is: the opportunity to give your child some safe supplies and send her outside to play. Perfect for a few minutes of fun or an afternoon with friends. 3-D really does take sidewalk chalk to a new dimension. You’ll want to be a kid again, too.

    • Includes 3-D chalk, 3-D glasses, 4 giant stencils, and more
    • It’s magic; no, it’s science
    • Combines art and movement
    • Washable and safe outside fun
  • Kids Cooking Club Kits

    Karen says: Start with these simple cooking projects and, before you know it, your child will be asking to help you prepare dinner. Products to interest any child: Cub Cakes, Train and Animal Cookies, and Tied Up In Knots Pretzels. Your child will learn the math and science of cooking. Most of all, your child will enjoy making something everyone likes to eat.

    • Easy first cooking ideas
    • Cookies, cupcakes, pretzels (Kosher certified), and holidays, too
    • Age-appropriate themes
    • Hands-on skill-building fun
  • Neon Blue Binoculars with Vinyl Case

    Karen says: Go outside for bird and bug watching to discover entire worlds that coexist in your own backyard. Play “I spy” or take a nature walk “scavenger hunt” looking for unusual sites. Check out “The Complete Backyard Nature Activity Book” for more backyard activity ideas.

    • Strong but lightweight
    • Easy to use for little hands
    • Brings objects 3.5 times closer
  • Brain Boogie Boosters CD

    Karen says: Everyone likes singing and dancing to new songs. This CD gives you and your child new ways to regroup from busy schedules. Instead of veging out in front of the TV, sing and move with songs like Calm Your Brain, Wadlee Atcha, Skip Counting, and Watch Me Listen. Listen to the whole CD or tale a short song break to renew spirits as needed.

    • Created with Dr. Becky Bailey, Early Childhood and Developmental Psychology Researcher
    • Interactive and fun
    • Teaches stress management and self-control

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